It's given ITV its best drama viewing figures in decades, and now Downton Abbey is about to find itself in the hallowed pages of the Guinness World Records.
The period drama, which returns to ITV1 on Sunday, has been officially recognised for attracting the highest critical ratings for a TV show, making it the first British programme to hold the accolade previously shared by US shows Mad Men, Sons of Anarchy and Modern Family.
The first series of Downton Abbey scored 92 out of 100 on website
Metacritic, which aggregates critical reviews from around the world,
making it the highest-scoring reviewer-rated show of 2010.
included in the 2012 edition of Guinness World Records, released on
Thursday, are collected in 2010, meaning Downton was the most critically
acclaimed series at that time.
Series creator Julian Fellowes and the cast and producers of Downton Abbey accepted the award from Guinness World Records' editor-in-chief, Craig Glenday.
Executive producer Gareth Neame said: “It is significant that this is the first time a British TV show has been so highly received around the world, confirming the UK’s status as the home of world-class drama.”
Glenday said: "Downton Abbey has been enjoyed by millions of people around the world. It's become part of our culture and is one of the TV shows that our generation will remember."
The series returns this Sunday (9pm, ITV1) and while the denizens of Downton have a long and traumatic First World War ahead of them
, the Guinness World Record is a badge of honour they can wear into battle.
Meanwhile, certain members of the Downton cast might be forgiven for being a little blasé about their inclusion in the book of Guinness World Records.
Dan Stevens, who plays Matthew Crawley, and Hugh Bonneville, aka Lord Grantham, were among the Downton actors who recently helped set a new record for the world's largest kazoo band during a performance at the Royal Albert Hall.